In the practice of yoga, yogis are encouraged to leave their egos at the door. In the practice of running, I am finding it equally important to leave my ego behind when I head out the door.
Today, I stood waiting at the corner, alongside another runner, waiting for the light to turn green. The other runner, apparently eager to get her run going, darted across the street before the signal changed. And although there was a car moving into the intersection, she had ample time to get across (as did I) — unless she were to trip. Playing it safe, I stood on the corner and waited it out, reminding myself that the separation between her and me would make it easier to refrain from unnecessary competitiveness.
By the time I hit the RR tracks, I could see my female friend just ahead me. I wondered if she’d stopped or slowed following her rush to get off-road. Then, I reminded myself to run my run without any comparison to anyone else. In other words, I resisted my ego’s advice to catch her.
I glanced down at Ms. G, whom I have only just been reunited with and smiled. My pace felt good and the pace reported by Ms. G was reassuring. After running without even a watch for the greater part of 5 months, I was happy to know that I hadn’t completely lost my get-up-and-go.
I moved along at my own pace, motivated by the looks on Ms. G’s face and, low and behold, I was slowly but surely closing in on my female friend. By the time I passed her, I was nice and warmed up. I gave her a wave and ran on at my own pace. Of course, it wasn’t long before I could hear hear feet at my heals. I moved to the left, motioned her to pass, and keep my pace. Even if I had the energy to go for it, it was easy for me to shoosh my ego with a reminder that my last great fall was on this very part of the trail.
I followed behind my friend to the turn around and back towards the office for about 1/2 mile. Then, I stopped for a picture and to distance myself from the urge to go for it. I really, really, really did not want to play a game of cat and mouse today. I just wanted to run my own run.
If there was anyone I felt like racing today, it would be myself. Even if it is a bit egotistical, after running deviceless for 5 months, I feel the time to chase my own numbers has come. If this chasing of numbers serves to motivate me to improve my pace and/or distance, and in doing so I leave my ego in the dust, then so be it.
And so I snapped my photo and let loose…just a wee bit.